so, now that we have a child we are beginning to rethink our normal christmas traditions. we've known for some time that presents are center stage for most of us and the true mystery and joy of the season is hard to find. in fact, as a kid i remember a sense of let down when the last present was unwrapped... and i remember already thinking about the next gift i was going to open before i had even finished opening the one in my hands. i've heard of children saying things like, "baby jesus is the one who brings us presents on christmas morning". and tantrums seem likely to happen on one of the most holy days of the year.

now, it's not that i'm against gift giving and receiving. besides being super fun, i think it's important for children to know how to give gifts and how receive them. no, i like presents. but... i don't want simon to be like i was.

we've been brainstorming some ideas... (and not really for this year because we'll just be busy keeping him from eating the wrapping paper at this stage.) for one, i don't think we'll have simon write a list of things he'd like. this takes away the surprise and excitement and sets him up for disappointment if he doesn't get everything he wanted... or sets us up for bankruptcy if he does. i'm not sure we'll do a traditional santa clause either. i really love mystery and fantasy and pretend but we're thinking of creating a space for that on st. nicholas day (dec. 6th) when children (and adults too!) put their shoes outside their doors before bed and wake up to little treats in them in the morning, brought by st. nicholas. another opportunity for gift giving is three kings day... january 6th. but on christmas day i think we'll do stockings (because i love them) and leave the presents at that.

but i still want that day to feel special and magical (and be about baby jesus). so, i'd love to hear about your ideas or traditions! when do you decorate for christmas? do you go out somewhere as a family? play games? how do you celebrate the wonder of baby jesus coming into the world?

please share them on facebook or in the comments!


~Beth D. said...

I've always wanted to do a nativity where baby Jesus isn't in it yet, until Christmas day, and every day or every Sunday before Christmas, the characters of the scene get closer to the manger.

I've also only wanted to do a stocking, no presents under the tree, but ON the tree. As in notes to each other. Either love notes or notes about actions of love. Like: "I worked at the homeless shelter for 2 hours instead of going to the shopping mall for 2 hours."

adia said...

great post (and great ideas Beth!) i too was a lot like you as a kid Cass with being a brat when it came to receiving.... i especially remember birthday parties when i was a jerk about it. anyway so far we've been very traditional w/ Christmas with the kids but i don't think i've gone as overboard with it as my parents did and i hope to not have my kids expect a HUGE pile of stuff each year. i think i will see that i've failed as they get older. also i've had to limit my mom to 10 gifts per kid. i literally make her count them otherwise she'd go nuts!

Anonymous said...

I like that nativity idea! Next year, I'd love to be able to get a decent wooden nativity so that Hazel can play with it. I know one person who used to have everybody "travel" through the house during advent and then "arrive" on Christmas day!

We are most likely going pretty traditional, but we won't be going overboard and will get Hazel mostly educational toys! I never made a Christmas list as a kid and loved the surprise of what I would get on Christmas morning. I don't remember feeling disappointed as much as excitement. We will probably not have Hazel make a list and we won't have her sit on Santa's lap. And we definitely won't use Santa as a threat to behave.


libb said...

cass. i like this. why didn't we hear about this on christmas?

cassie haw said...

we talked about it the whole time so, i'm not sure...